The louse is a wingless insect that measures approximately 4 mm in length, has a transparent and grayish color and can cause infestation in areas of the body where there is hair or hair. For more references, check out: can fleas get in human hair

Lice are ectoparasites, that is, parasites that live outside their host, which include birds and mammals. Each animal is usually parasitized by only one specific species. This means that human lice do not pass to pets and vice versa.

When an animal, including humans, is parasitized with lice, we say it has pediculosis. Pediculosis is, after the flu, the most common illness in childhood, affecting about 20% of school-age children.


There are a wide variety of treatments and remedies for head lice. However, just as important as the use of medication is the inspection and identification of pediculosis in all people around the identified case. If a child is treated for head lice, but their siblings or classmates are not infected, the chance of reinfection is very high.

As the louse is nothing more than an insect, the treatment is preferably done with special insecticides. These can be applied in the form of shampoo, lotions or creams.

Some of the most commonly used substances in the treatment of pediculosis include:

  • Permethrin.
  • Deltamethrin.
  • Pyrethrin.
  • Malathion.
  • Lindane (has been used less and less because it is more toxic).

In recent years, some treatments without insecticides have been shown to be as effective or more effective than treatments with insecticides. Two substances that have shown good results in clinical studies are dimethicone and cyclomethicone, which kill the louse mechanically, through its asphyxia and dehydration.

In more severe cases that are resistant to topical therapy, the most indicated treatment is usually oral ivermectin in a single dose (200 to 400 mcg/kg). Treatment can be repeated a week later.

Never use medications, shampoos or lotions that have not been prescribed by your pediatrician. There are some solutions with agricultural insecticide that are toxic and can cause serious harm to children.

For children under two years of age, we do not recommend the use of substances that contain insecticide. In these cases or when parents do not wish to use insecticides on the child, the wet fine comb for mechanical louse extraction is an option. But be careful, you need to be very patient. Hair should be combed four times a day, for at least 10 to 14 days, even if there appears to be no more lice or nits. The goal is to remove all existing lice.

Vinegar or olive oil can be used to facilitate the work of removal with a fine-tooth comb. But beware: these substances help with mechanical removal but do not kill the louse or the nit. Vinegar can be heated until warm and then mixed with a conditioner. When applied and covered with a plastic cap for at least 30 minutes, the vinegar dissolves the layer surrounding the egg (nit), preventing its fixation on the hair shaft. Use the fine-tooth comb afterwards and the lice and nits will come out easily. Vinegar can be mixed with water too, in a solution with a proportion of 50% each.

After treatment, the identification of nits does not necessarily mean that it has failed. If there are no more lice, these may just be the residue of old eggs that have remained attached to the hair.

Treatments without scientific evidence

  • Coconut oil.
  • Hairdryer.
  • Butter.
  • Petroleum Jelly.
  • Arruda tea.
  • Citronella.

back to school

As long as there are head lice, the child should stay away from school. Today, however, treatments eliminate head lice in just one day, and most children no longer have to miss classes.

Do not forget to notify the school board so that other mothers can be aware of the existence of lice in their children.

prevention at home

Bed linen should be changed daily, washed with hot water and then ironed. Used combs should be boiled and washed with alcohol.

Siblings who are in close contact should be treated preventively, and parents should at least have their scalp observed by another adult looking for nits, lice or signs of a bite.

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